Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday announced the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee to take inventory of Nigerian assets in different parts of the world.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku while addressing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said the committee will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Gbenga Ashiru and have members drawn from other ministries and departments.
Other members of the committee include, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Bureau for Public Procurement, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Special Adviser to the President on Project Monitoring and Implementation and the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs.
According to the Minister of Information, "the president believes that every kobo of the country is accounted for. He wants the committee to take inventory of assets of Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Navy, the Nigerian Ports Authority and other agencies of government".
The Information Minister also disclosed that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance briefed council on the activities of their ministries in the last one year.
He said after listening to the presentation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Executive Council came to the conclusion that "at the moment Nigeria has the best foreign policy focus in the last one decade".
Speaking on the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru said the leadership role played by Nigeria during the crises in Cote D 'Ivoire and Mali during the election crisis and attempted coup respectively has brought tremendous respect to the country at international fora.
He said the bi-national commissions between Nigeria and other countries Like the United States of America and Germany have also brought a lot of investment into the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also pointed out that the defence of Nigerians abroad has formed the cornerstone of the ministry's policy and has improved tremendously, citing the case of the ill treatment of Nigerians in South Africa, deportation of some pilgrims from Saudi Arabia and others.
Also briefing newsmen on the activities of the Ministry of Finance, the Minister of State, Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama said the ministry has done well to stabilize the financial system through the stabilization of the Macro Economy.
On the consolidation of the budget, the minister of state said the ministry was able to bring the budget defict from 6.8% in 2010 to 2.3% in 2011 budget.
He said the ministry also focused on reducing the recurrent expenditure quotient so that more funds would be available for the development in the real sector.
The minister said the target of the ministry is to achieve a 60% capital expenditure budget while 40% is budgeted for recurrent expenditure.
He blamed the increase in salary by 53% in 2010 for the dysfunction in the country's budgetary process, noting that with the increase in salary, government has to rely on bonds to pay salaries thereby pushing up domestic debt to N6.634Trillion.
He said the ministry has managed the economy effectively and efficiently as reflected by the various positive ratings by international rating agencies